There has been an increase of size and intensity to wildfires. In the past years fire season has also lengthened. With the increase of wildfires brings a risk to human health and safety and financial impact.
You might ask yourself what are the primary threats to homes during a wildfire?
Majority of homes ignite in a wildfire by embers and or small flames. A burning piece of airborne wood and/or vegetation are called embers. Embers can be carried more than a mile through the wind and can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris, and other objects.
The methods for homeowners to prepare their homes to withstand ember attacks and minimize the likelihood of flames or surface fire touching the home or any attachments are listed below.
This is 0-5’ of the homes furthest attached exterior point. It recommended to start with the house first then on to landscaping.
- Clean out any dead leaves, pine needles or debris from roofs and gutters to prevent them from catching embers.
- Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles.
- Installing 1/8 inch metal mesh screening on vents that will reduce embers from passing through.
- Clean the debris from the exterior attic vents and install 1/8 inch metal mesh screening to help reduce embers.
- Make sure to repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors – mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles – anything that can burn. Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.
5-30’ from the furthest exterior point of the home. For the landscaping/hardscaping creating breaks that can help influence and decrease fire behavior
- Clearing the vegetation from under a large stationary propane tank.
- Create a fuel break with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks.
- Keep your lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches.
- Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune trees up to six to ten feet from the ground; for shorter trees do not exceed 1/3 of the overall tree height.
- Space trees to have a minimum of eighteen feet between crowns with the distance increasing with the percentage of slope.
- Tree placement should be planned to ensure the mature canopy is no closer than ten feet to the edge of the structure.
- Tree and shrubs in this zone should be limited to small clusters of a few each to break up the continuity of the vegetation across the landscape.
30-100 feet, out to 200 feet. Landscaping – the goal here is not to eliminate fire but to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames smaller and on the ground.
- Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter/debris.
- Remove any dead plant and tree material.
- Remove small conifers that maybe growing between mature trees.
- Remove any vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area.
- Trees 30 to 60 feet from the home should have at the least 12 feet between canopy tops.
- Trees 60 to 100 feet from the home should have at the least 6 feet between the canopy tops.
You can find more information about fire prevention at NFPA website.